Country being divided, losing faith in govt, says Catholic body

“The country is being divided on the basis of religious belief. It is bad in a democratic country. I want my country to be united in a secular fabric. But now, this country is being polarised due to religious affiliations. We should fight against it,” the Cardinal said.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: December 22, 2017 2:46 pm
Country being divided, losing faith in govt, says Catholic body Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) said, ““I agree such incidents can happen in a big country… But how do you evaluate the strength and stand of the government? It is the subsequent action and the legal protection are what matter.” (Express photo)

Stating that the “country is being polarised due to religious affiliations”, the top Catholic body in the country has said the community is “losing confidence” in the government. “From the point of Christian community, this whole incident of attack on priests and seminaries in Satna and the state government’s move to file cases against the priests, arresting the poor and the innocent instead of finding the culprits, do not help us to keep our confidence in the government intact. We are losing our confidence in the government,” Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the apex decision making body of the Catholic Church in the country, told The Indian Express in an interview.

“I agree such incidents can happen in a big country… But how do you evaluate the strength and stand of the government? It is the subsequent action and the legal protection are what matter.”

“The country is being divided on the basis of religious belief. It is bad in a democratic country. I want my country to be united in a secular fabric. But now, this country is being polarised due to religious affiliations. We should fight against it,” the Cardinal said.

Last week, 30 priests and seminarians singing carols in a village near Satna in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh were detained by police after Bajrang Dal activists accused them of trying to forcibly convert the villagers. One of the priests was arrested under the state’s draconian anti-conversion law.

Read in Malayalam: രാജ്യത്ത് വിഭാഗീയത വളരുന്നു, സർക്കാരിലുളള വിശ്വാസം നഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടു: കത്തോലിക്ക സഭ

Cleemis led a delegation of the CBCI, which met Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday to express their “pain and anguish and seek justice”. Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam and Rajya Sabha Vice-Chairman P J Kurien were present at the meeting. Cleemis said Singh’s “spontaneous response” was positive and he assured immediate action. “He said he will see to it that justice is done. I hope he will do his best.”

He said neither he nor the community in Satna could understand the reason behind the attack. “There is no evidence or visible reason … It was a pre-planned attack. The conversion allegation in Satna is baseless. The diocese does not get into conversion at all.”

He also rejected the argument that reports of attacks on churches come up only during elections. “That argument is absurd and baseless. Now what’s the connection between election and the attack in Satna? There are reports that in Rajasthan too, Christian groups were attacked. There is no election now,” the Cardinal said.

He wanted the government to “decide serious measures to safeguard the interest of citizens. “Make sure that innocent people are treated properly and given protection . The culprits should be punished for their bad acts and for damaging the image of the country. We should stay together, united in diversity,” he said, adding that the Christian community and its leadership are “committed to work towards the growth of the country beyond ethnic, religious and linguistic affiliations.”

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  1. Binu Thomas
    Dec 24, 2017 at 6:10 am
    The "demonisation" of "the other" to gain political advantage (by right wing Hindu organisations) or financial gain (by certain Christian evangelicals) has to be countered by the large silent majorities in all communities. Else the country will be wrecked by such flare ups. An inter faith dialogue on this disturbing trend and how it can be countered is the need of the hour.
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    1. Mukundan Menon
      Dec 23, 2017 at 4:20 pm
      Please stop conversions in churches going on in India, otherwise people will react, Stop giving sermons against the ruling party during the mass and during the meeting in churches. As such intention of the clergy of Christians are only to attack Hindus all over because of the poverty and inducements being meted out to them, Stop all propaganda in churches against Hindis and BJP in general. Stop acting like people in Lutyens in delhi who has veeb consistently saying intolerance.
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        Kumar.p.Nair
        Dec 25, 2017 at 5:12 pm
        In any country the will of the majority is honored but unfortunately in India under the garb of secularism and freedom is speech Hindu gods are mocked either by M F Hussein / liberals in luettons Delhi : even a reference to a religion in an examination resulted in hands chopped off but no action taken, fortunately it was the g old party the saviour of secularism who failed to act. Let this be above politics respect and reverence mutually by all religions is a must and deriding Hindu religion has become fashionable, for, Hindus are not governed by sermons from temples but it's the other way around in Mulim/Christian who are well organised having well oiled mechanism to take up with the Govt. Time has changed with BJP in power a godfather figure to take on mighty organized minorities has created panic and hence periodic sermon to proceed with old age old practices are now questioned and hence this foul cry. Let wisdom prevail to follow the basic tenets of cons ution.
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        1. Odisho Mousa
          Dec 26, 2017 at 9:56 pm
          You know how to counter if you feel your gods are being derided by Muslim speech or Christian speech? Hold a counter speech against Muhammad or Jesus and promote your god in the Temple. No need to fight or physically be violent. Fight words with words.
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        2. Odisho Mousa
          Dec 26, 2017 at 9:54 pm
          Why should the religious people - no matter what religion - keep quiet about injustices they feel exist, whether the ruling party is responsible or not? It is one of the primary duties of religion to speak for the poorest or most vulnerable, not just light lamps and blow incense. Your comment is like asking Hindus to stop puja in temples and we will comply with your requests -- why even ask such a thing? Whether people convert or not is no one's business except the individuals involved. Why should anyone else be rioting or fighting on someone else's religious choices whether atheist, Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Buddhist, Christian or tribal??
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          1. Pawan Kumar Aryan
            Jan 1, 2018 at 3:47 pm
            Very true, bold and HUMANE.
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        3. B Juliet Ril
          Dec 23, 2017 at 12:32 pm
          No matter what ever discomfort brought by the govt to the Christians....faith in christianity can't be reduced. All these problems are brought by those who do not want a peaceful and free india 🇮🇳
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            Ajay
            Dec 23, 2017 at 11:19 am
            Why do you loose faith You who sell Jesus 😜😜😜😜😩😩
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            1. Zayn Zui
              Dec 23, 2017 at 11:42 am
              Do not you Saffron's sell Lord Rama for Power and Penny?Do not you Saffron's sell Gods and Goddesses to fool the masses? Saffron's have tarnished sacred name of Hinduism.
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              1. Odisho Mousa
                Dec 26, 2017 at 9:59 pm
                Godmen and preachers - whether saffron, bearded, Christian (KP Yohannan), Hindu (Sai Baba/Amma), Muslim (Zakir Naik), or political - are extremely skilled in fooling the masses and extracting money from your wallet and into theirs. Be suspicious of them, not each other.
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            2. Tito Xavier
              Dec 23, 2017 at 10:44 am
              Being a keralite I tell u my experience I was born in kerala and brought in Mumbai I shifted from Mumbai to Kerala now what I see here so many churches cooked up here Kerala ruled by two political party  one party sympthy towards minority and other party don't believe In any religion together they made kerala horrible place to live for Hindu I hided my iden y  there is not a true decomarcy in India ,u can't say anything  ,here churches are coping everything Hindu tradition and everything so once any one converted to Christianity they should stick to them not to reconvert to Hindu, they want to show outsider Kerala a Christian state so no outside hindu political political party to enter in Kerala ,why they bringing changes to Hindu temple tradition only, why they not bring changes to christan and other community faith ,are they want to destroy Hindu faith ,now they seen Hindu united giving vote for one party, so they are Scare they will not get chance to convert more ,a new drama
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